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Namah calls on MPs to use own money in criminal offence cases

Staff Reporter 9/09/2014 | | |
OPPOSITION leader Belden Namah says political leaders charged with criminal offences should use their own money instead of the public funds to pay their lawyers’ fees.
Namah told reporters in Port Moresby that he had received information that large sums of public money were being paid to private lawyers to defend Cabinet ministers implicated in criminal cases.
He plans to write to the Ombudsman Commission and police to investigate these “exorbitant payments” made to the lawyers.
He cited as an example a case in court recently on the interpretation of the powers of the police on arrest warrants. He said three private lawyers represented the State.
“The State can only be represented by the Attorney-General,” Namah said.
“When a public official is criminally implicated, it has got nothing to do with his work.”
“It’s something to do with himself and the way he has behaved.
“So he is liable to pay for his own legal costs.”
He said it was a concern for Papua New Guineans when the Government was paying huge sums of money to private lawyers this way.
He said these funds should instead be used for hospitals, schools, medicine and roads .
“Our private and overseas lawyers (Queen’s  counsels) are becoming very rich overnight at the expense of our taxpayers,” he said.

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